These Old-Fashioned Cloverleaf Rolls are a light, soft and buttery roll straight from my Nan’s handwritten recipe. These rolls are really special to me because we only had them for a holiday formal meal. I always helped my grandmother make these rolls when it was time to tear the dough into 3 balls, the essential step to the cloverleaf roll signature look.
Baker’s tips Old-Fashioned Cloverleaf Rolls:
A stand mixer simplifies kneading:
Use a heavy duty stand mixer with a dough hook attachment as this recipe calls for a lot of flour and saves kneading by hand.
A little cream adds even more richness:
I use whole milk for this recipe which makes for a nice, rich texture. You could also mix out part of the milk with some cream to add even more flavor and richness.
My flour recommendations:
This recipe calls for a mixture of bread flour and all-purpose flour. I only use King Arthur brand flour. If you purchase at your local grocery store, look for unbleached bread flour and all-purpose unbleached flour. If you purchase the flour in bulk, King Arthur uses alternate names: their bread flour is known as Special Patent Flour (12.7% protein) and is best for yeast breads, buns, and pastries, and their all-purpose flour is called Sir Galahad (11.7% protein) is best for pizza dough, cookies, muffins and quick breads.
Vital wheat gluten is an optional, but handy ingredient to have:
Be sure to keep this ingredient on hand if you plan to bake a lot of homemade bread. If you don’t have any on hand, its ok to skip in these rolls, I just always add in a bit of Vital Wheat Gluten any bread recipe since it acts as a binder to provide extra strength, yet a light texture. Also, if you do not have bread flour on hand, you can make your own by adding 1 T. vital wheat gluten to 3 c. of unbleached all-purpose flour.
Use the proper baking sheet:
Always use light-colored, aluminum muffin pans. I use Nordic Ware aluminum muffin pans that are lightly greased. Aluminum is best for distributing and reflecting even heat during the baking process. Dark baking pans conduct more heat off the surface, which may lead to your baked goods to burn or darken on the edges before they are fully cooked.
Clover Yeast Rolls
- 1/2 c. warm water mix with yeast
- 4 1/2 tsp. yeast (2 packets)
- 2 c. warm whole milk
- 6 T. sugar
- 10 T. melted butter
- 2 eggs
- 4 c. bread flour
- 2 2/3 c. unbleached flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 T. vital wheat gluten
- Mix together yeast and warm water and set aside. Melt butter and set aside to cool.
- Set mixer with dough hook and place liquid ingredients into stand mixer and mix together.
- In a separate bowl wisk together dry ingredients.
- Using the low speed of the mixer add in 2 cups of dry ingredients at a time until dough starts to form. Knead in mixer for 3-5 minutes until the dough is soft and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl.
- To see if the gluten has fully developed, take a small piece of dough and hold between both hands and stretch using your thumbs and first fingers up against the light (windowpane test) and if you can stretch it without breaking it and see through it, then its ready to rise. If not, knead dough on a lightly floured surface for a few more minutes until soft and the stretch test works.
- Place dough into a greased bowl and use proofing setting on oven or place by a fire until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
- Punch dough and divide into 36 pieces. Knead each piece into ball on your palm and dip in some melted butter. Place 3 balls into each muffin cup.
- Let rolls rise again for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray 2 muffin pans.
- Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes. Remove rolls from pans and brush immediately with butter.